Tag Archives: Defence

Għajn Tuffieħa Tower | Mellieħa, Malta | 3 September 2014

The Lascaris towers are a series of mostly coastal watchtowers that the Order of Saint John (Knights of Malta) built as military fortifications on the island of Malta.

Giovanni Paolo Lascaris became Grand Master of the Order of Saint John in 1636. He commissioned the building of five towers for the Maltese coast. The military architect Vincenzo Maculani, who had been sent to Malta by Pope Innocent X, was responsible for their design and construction, which took place between 1637 and 1640.

Modern day locals often refer to both the five Lascaris towers and the thirteen later de Redin towers collectively as “de Redin towers”. The Wignacourt towerspreceded the Lascaris towers.

Għajn Tuffieħa Tower, also known as Għajn Mixkuka Tower, was built on the cliffs overlooking Għajn Tuffieħa Bay close to Mellieħa and Mġarr on the north west coast of Malta. The tower was built on the site of a medieval watch post. It was originally armed with a half pounder gun and garrisoned by four men. The men were paid by the Universita of Mdina.

The tower was restored in 2000 with the support of the Director of Public Projects and the philanthropic organisation Din l-Art Ħelwa. In 2012, the tower was vandalized when graffiti was sprayed on it but this was removed. The tower continued to be renovated until the Gaia Foundation opened it to the public in 2013 as part of a peace grove containing over 20 species of indigenous plants.

Information from:
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lascaris_towers#G.C4.A7ajn_Tuffie.C4.A7a_Tower

© Tony Blood - Għajn Tuffieħa Tower, Għajn Tuffieħa Bay. Mellieħa, Malta, 4 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Għajn Tuffieħa Tower, Għajn Tuffieħa Bay. Mellieħa, Malta, 4 August 2014

St. Thomas Tower | Il-Hamriga, Marsaskala, Malta | 22 August 2014

Saint Thomas Tower was built above the shore on the seaward face of the headland of Il-Hamriga in Marsaskala. It is a substantial fortification intended to prevent the landing of troops in the sheltered anchorages of Marsaskala Creek and St Thomas Bay. The tower was built in 1614 and was named after a chapel dedicated to St Thomas which stood close to where the tower now lies. Its architect is not known and it cost 13,450 scudi to build making it the second most expensive Wignacourt tower.

The tower has very thick walls and has four pentagonal turrets projecting outwards on each corner. The tower’s entrance was through a vaulted doorway with a wooden drawbridge. The drawbridge is still partially intact and it is the only original one to have survived in Malta.

After the De Redin towers were built, St Thomas had Żonqor and Xrobb l-Għaġin Towers in its line of sight, but these are now either in ruins or completely demolished. In 1716, St Thomas Tower was reinforced by the addition of a battery on the seaward face. Construction of the battery cost a total of 382 scudi, 8 tarì, 11 grani and 1 piccolo, which was less than the cost of construction of other batteries around the coast. The tower continued to be used by the British until well into the 19th century, but unlike St Lucian Tower the battery around the fort was not dismantled and rebuilt and only minor alterations to the tower itself were made.

The tower and battery have undergone recent restoration work. The village of Marsaskala has expanded to surround the tower with modern buildings, and the tower now forms the centerpiece of a plaza around its shoreward face. The tower was used as a restaurant and pizzeria. In 2008 the tower was cleaned and the ditch was cleared of vegetation so it is now in very good condition. It was to be converted into a museum about piracy in the Mediterranean.

Information from:
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wignacourt_towers

© Tony Blood - St. Thomas Tower. Il-Hamriga, Marsaskala, Malta, 22 August 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Thomas Tower. Il-Hamriga, Marsaskala, Malta, 22 August 2014

Gardjola Gardens | Senglea, Malta | 30 July 2014

Constructed on a grid pattern in 1551 by order of Grandmaster De La Sengle, the Gardjola Gardens in Senglea offer a panoramic view that includes the docks in Marsa, Valletta, the entrance to the Grand Harbour and Fort St. Angelo.

The sentry box placed on the tip of the bastion, ‘il-gardjola’, epitomises the role of the fortifications around the harbour. On the sentry box there are sculptured various symbols of watchfulness, namely the eye, the ear, and the crane bird. The inscription in Latin assures the inhabitants of the harbour area to rest at ease, as the tower stands guard against any hostile force that may attempt to approach Maltese shores.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/gardjolagardens

© Tony Blood - Watchtower. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Watchtower. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Water Feature. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Water Feature. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Watchtower. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Watchtower. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Water Feature. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Water Feature. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - View of Valletta. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – View of Valletta. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Eye. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Eye. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Ear. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Ear. Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Gardjola Gardens. Senglea, Malta, 30 July 2014

Fort St. Elmo | Valletta, Malta | 19 July 2014

Guarding the approaches to both Grand and Marsamxett Harbours is Fort St Elmo. It was the scene of a heroic defence during the Great Siege of 1565.

When the Knights arrived in Malta, Mount Sceberras, on which Valletta was later to stand, was a rocky promontory with a small fort built in 1488 during Aragonese rule of the Islands. The Knights set about reinforcing the fort’s defences to the extent that this once small fort managed to repel a month of attack from the Ottomans at the outset of the Great Siege. It was eventually captured with the loss of 1500 Knights and local defenders. But testimony to the Fort’s strength is the fact that the attackers lost four times that number of men in taking the St Elmo. When the siege was over, the victorious Knights rebuilt Fort St Elmo and strengthened further its defences.

The Fort has seen continuous use over the centuries, right through to World War II and the present day. In 1940, at the start of the War, Italian airmen led the first aerial attack on Malta with Fort St Elmo as the main target. Today, part of Fort St Elmo houses the War Museum with the rest of the Fort serving as the Maltese Police Academy.

The Fort is the scene today of the `In Guardia’ and ‘Alarme’ historical re-enactments – full-scale military parades in period costume held throughout the year except during peak summer months.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/fortstelmo

© Tony Blood - Fort St. Elmo. Valletta Malta, 19 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Fort St. Elmo. Valletta Malta, 19 July 2014